Shame and Guilt | An Article on Pornography Addiction and Relapse
I relapse over and over again in nofap.
I want to quit pornography addiction forever, but everytime I am on a streak, I relapse for some reason.
Once I relapse, I watch pornography more than before.
My productivity also goes down, and I don’t know what to do now.
I am losing all my hopes, and this addiction is killing me, day by day, night after night.
I think I don’t have the willpower to continue the nofap journey.
Once I did a long streak, and I became happy and productive.
My life changed, and success seemed like within a reaching distance.
But, I relapsed, and everything shattered.
I am tired of fighting with this addiction, I am tired of crying at night, and I am tired of facing this bitter reality.
If you are going through these phases of life, then this article is for you.
If you want to quit pornography addiction forever, then this article is for you.
Also, if you want to start your nofap journey for the first time, this article will help you.
A long streak
If you are reading this article, then you have already tried nofap.
Perhaps, you were able to stay away from porn for a few days, or months or a year.
But, once you relapse, the next streaks were not that long enough.
Once you relapsed into your long streak, shame and guilt intensify within you.
Though, you may not be aware of the power of shame or guilt.
Perhaps, you don’t even know that you have shame and guilt inside you.
Most of the time, shame and guilt remain in disguise in other forms.
Let understand this with an example.
When Roy relapsed after a year, he felt a deep loathing inside him for the first time.
He decided, one relapse will not do any harm.
So, he started the next nofap journey.
This journey was shorter than the previous one.
But, he cannot relapse. He has to become successful in life.
He has dreams, goals, and a passion for his work.
Though, Roy believes his passion died because of pornography addiction.
He wants it back.
The more he relapsed, the unhappier he became with his life.
He thought the cause of unhappiness was pornography addiction.
But, how can it be?
He quit porn for over a year and a half and relapsed happened once or twice a month.
How can he still be addicted to pornography?
He is not watching porn five times a day like before; still, he doesn’t have any energy or passion for his life.
It is because of the shame and guilt he is carrying within him.
It is shame and guilt that are disguised as pornography addiction.
It is shame and guilt that robbed all this mental and physical energy and made him less passionate about life.
It is this shame and guilt that ruined his happiness.
He has quit pornography addiction a long time back; what he has now are shame and guilt.
Shame and Guilt
Shame and guilt are essential for survival.
Without shame and guilt, society will be in chaos.
But, when shame and guilt intensify because of certain events, it creates the ‘chaos.’
Perhaps, your childhood was not that great.
Maybe, your parents set targets for you in childhood that you never achieved.
This resulted in unhappiness to your parents and you.
You loathed yourself with ‘good for nothing,’ or maybe your parents scolded you for not achieving the goals, directly or indirectly.
Again, there are teachers who didn’t pay any attention to you or childhood friends who always suppressed you.
These events intensified your shame and guilt since childhood, and once you failed to achieve your goals again in adulthood, your self-loathing grew even stronger.
You have set a goal to do a nofap journey of 90 days, but you fail after a week.
You try again, and you fail again.
The more you fail, the more depressed and unhappy you became.
The constant noise in your mind keeps growing.
You want peace, success, and happiness, but the more you try, the more you fail.
This is because you have tied all your knots to a single point- only if you quit pornography addiction for a year or two everything will be okay.
Only if she accepts, you will be happy.
Only if you get the promotion, you can enjoy life.
Only if you improve your skill, you can earn more.
The examples can continue for days.
These are nothing but desires.
We will talk more about desires in the later section and how it is the number one reason for our failure.
The truth can be, you are not addicted to pornography at all.
It is shame or guilt that is causing the problems.
What problems can shame and guilt create?
Shame and guilt are negative emotions.
Shame and guilt can destroy your self-confidence if it arises from failing to achieve goals.
Shame and guilt can make a person unsatisfied and unhappy.
It leads to a decrease in productivity and unfulfilled life.
Shame and guilt can also cause disrespect to yourself.
You cannot have self-respect if you have shame or guilt for certain behaviors.
Again, self-respect leads to self-discipline.
If there is no self-respect, there is no self-discipline.
Once you meet goals, once you become happy and feel joy, you become discipline on your own.
Nobody has to push you to do your work, neither you have to push yourself.
Joy and peace are an internal part of you.
It is not extrinsic emotion like pleasure, fear, shame, or guilt.
The joy and peace never end once you start to live in the moments.
Shame and guilt hide your true self from you.
There were moments in your life when you felt true joy or peace, and those events were relaxed and magical.
This happens when we able to stop thinking about the past or future.
But, our mind doesn’t stop thinking about the past or future.
It wants to solve the problems.
It wants to stop watching pornography and improve our lives.
It wants to be productive and achieve goals.
It wants the good for us, but the more it wants, the bigger our problems get.
We spend more time watching pornography, we spend more time playing video games, etc.
This is because ‘wanting’ is also part of the problem.
Our minds want things, of course, for our survival.
The primary job for our mind is survival.
But, wanting or desire always happens in the future.
You want to quit pornography addiction.
You want to stop playing video games.
You want to stop eating junk foods.
You want to buy that car, your dream car since childhood.
But, once you fail to achieve the things you desire, unhappiness takes place.
You have already told your brain that you are going to quit pornography addiction.
But it didn’t happen. You relapsed.
You have lied to yourself.
Once you play video games after promising not to play will also cause the same unhappiness.
But, what if you don’t make any promises to yourself.
What if you cut the craving from your life and just focus on the moments you have.
You don’t know if you are going to quit pornography addiction or not.
You don’t know if you can able to stop yourself from playing video games or not.
The truth is, you don’t know because it is not happening now.
Future and past are only in the brains; the truth is your current moment.
Of course, you have goals to quit pornography addiction, stop playing video games, or buy the dream car, but you don’t know when this will happen.
You don’t care about it anymore.
You only care about ‘now’.
Handling cravings for pornography addiction
There is no need to feel guilty or shame for your cravings.
There is no need to feel guilty or shame for the relapsed.
Cravings for something that we repeatedly do are biological. If you are human, you will crave.
If you are human, you can also relapse, not a big deal.
Why do you have to beat yourself up for something as common as water?
Again, if you have identified your shame and guilt, you can also have the option to chose at the moments of cravings.
Only at the moments of cravings, you can choose if you want to watch pornography or not.
That depends on you.
But, you should not plan it before, like, “ I will choose at the moment of craving that I will not watch porn.’
This again becomes a desire.
Leave it at the moment, and enjoy ‘now’.
At this moment, you are reading this article.
You don’t have to make a detailed plan for everything.
You already know what you want in your life, and you will choose what is right at the moment.
You don’t have to prepare yourself in advance.
Let understand this concept with an example.
Roy lost 1000 USD in shares.
He felt bad because he lost the money.
But, he told his mind that he is going to earn it again by investing more.
Once he lost again, he got depressed.
The wanting to get his money back made him even more depressed.
The feeling bad for losing the money is natural.
But, earning money back is a promise on probability.
Once he failed, it means he lied to himself once again.
What is gone is already gone.
He can take lessons about why he lost and continue with his life.
When the next moment comes to invest in shares again, he will already have the lesson of not investing in the wrong stock.
Though it doesn’t guarantee his success, he will be much happier.
Worry and stress
Our brain is very good at calculating future events.
Once you earn 100usd in one day, it calculates how much you will earn in a month.
When you don’t earn the target amount, chaos happens.
The point is, once you design your future events in mind and things don’t go as expected, stress and worry come to the surface.
You are worried that you cannot be successful in anything, worried that you are going to relapse sooner or later.
Moreover, you are stressed with your daily tasks.
There are so many things to do, and you have very little time.
Most of all, you don’t feel motivated enough to work after a few minutes or hours.
How are you going to achieve goals if this continues?
There are so many questions in your mind, and all you can do is try more, push more and work more.
With strong willpower and motivation, you mage to work 10 hours for today.
But, the next day, your expectations have already changed.
You want to work again, 10 hours for the next day, but 10 hours is a long time.
How are you supposed to continue?
Each minute and second feels like torture, and your stress and worry increase because of this.
Once your stress and worry increase, the only way to release these negative emotions is to watch pornography again.
It has always relaxed you in the past; it will do again.
The cycle continues.
What if you don’t care how many hours you are going to work.
You may work for a minute or 24 hours.
You don’t know what will happen, and making assumptions is not helpful, as you have already experienced.
What if you just enjoy the moment when you are performing the task.
If you don’t enjoy the tasks while performing them, then it’s okay; your neural pathways have not been stronger yet for that activity.
It takes time.
Move on to the next thing you like to do.
The good thing about ourselves is that we always know what we want to do at this moment.
We don’t need a pre-design path for our life.
Let the path carve on its own by the decisions we take in these moments.
Joy and peace
Joy and peace can only be felt when we are in this moment.
Once you are performing an activity you like, you will feel certain joy within you.
You need to pay attention to the moment to feel that emotion.
It will be like seeping within you from an unknown world, and it keeps getting increasing.
You never get tired; you never feel like working hard.
All you feel is this emotion, this peace, or in other words, your true self.
There is no rush to achieve anything; there is no commitment like quitting pornography addiction or not playing video games again.
You don’t care about the outcome of the task; you don’t care about the future.
Because you now know the truth, that this moment you are living or experiencing is the only truth.
Once you start to live this way, the things you always wished for in the past starts to happen on their own.
But, living in the moment is not easy.
If you are already living in the past or future, which most of us are, since childhood, it would not be easy to live in the moments.
Practicing living in the moments.
Once I wake up in the morning, I don’t know if I will publish my article or finish reading my book.
I don’t know if I am going to earn or going to lose money.
I don’t know if I will continue my jogging today or not.
I will know only when the moments come.
I leave it to that.
But, this way of thinking needs some practice.
1. Mindfulness practice.
Start paying attention when you wash your utensils in the kitchen.
Notice each movement you are doing or the flow of water.
Try to pay attention to every moment that passes.
You can apply the same when reading, talking, walking, etc.
The point is to raise our awareness about ourselves.
The more you practice this, your awareness will become stronger, and the cloudiness will start to vanish.
2. Mindfulness Meditation
Mindfulness meditation certainly helps to speed up the process.
Most start with the breathing technique.
They try to pay attention to every inhale and exhale.
They try to pay attention to the rush of air through our noses.
This improves our concentration, and soon after some practice, we start to feel the moment we are spending on meditation.
We know that we are here, sitting and meditating, and this is the truth.
3. Read books on meditation and living in the present.
There are many books out there that can increase your awareness and can explain far better than this article.
Two books are mentioned below:
1. The power of Now by Eckhart Tolle
To quit pornography addiction forever and stop your relapses, first, stop feeling sorry for yourself.
Identify if it is shame or guilt that is leading to your relapses or actual addiction.
Second, stop designing your future events and make promises to yourself.
You have the power of making decisions in every moment of your life; you can make decisions when the moment of crisis comes.
Why dread something that may not even happen.
Start paying attention to the ‘now’ without any biased judgment, and see the changes in your life for yourself.